Author's Note:

Hi, guys! New story! As I told you yesterday on HEA's new chapter, this idea has been bothering me for a couple of months now (since I read a very touching ghost story) and I finally decided to write it down. As far as I've seen, JAFF fans are not very enthusiastic about supernatural stories, so I hesitated for a whole month before I decided I might post it, but you seem willing to give it a go, so here it is!

I want to warn you from the onset that although this is a "Halloween special," it's not "scary" at all. This story is supposed to be silly and I hope you read it with an open mind try something different. I'm sure there are a lot of plot holes (especially with the supernatural stuff), but I'll do my best. My intention was to finish it by Halloween but since it's getting a little out of control, I might not make it to my self-imposed deadline. I know where I'm going but the path is kind of blurry right now, so we'll see.

This first chapter is basically setting the background to get you in the "supernatural" mood. I hope you like it! As always, let me know what you think!

Stay safe!


Pemberley's guardians


It was a well-known fact, at least among the good people of Derbyshire, that the prestigious Darcy name would forever be linked with the great estate of Pemberley. Their lineage could be traced back to the times of William the Conqueror when Alexandre d'Arcy first arrived in England. The aforementioned gentleman was young, wealthy, and nothing if not determined to make the d'Arcy name the greatest in all England. Whether he succeeded or not is for the reader to infer. Suffice to say that his first order of business was, of course, marrying well—both wealth and breeding were required and obtained when he married Lady Agatha Westford. So proud was he of his wife's pedigree that he named his firstborn Westford, a tradition that would continue for many centuries. The second step was to build a country manor worthy of dreams. And so, Pemberley was built and later expanded. The estate and the grounds around it grew with each generation until it surpassed Alexandre's wildest fantasies. The estate was passed from father to son and each one made its contribution. There was Darcy blood and sweat in the walls—hope, fear, and a lot of ambition. Their wealth became greater, their connections grander, and it was not long before all of Derbyshire knew the Darcys were wealthy, powerful, and connected to the nobility.

What the good people of Derbyshire did not know was that the Darcys' link to Pemberley was not exclusive to their earthly life. No. Several centuries could tie a family forever to a place, and so the Darcys would always be drawn to their home. The family might have their suspicions, for there were stories told from one generation to the other that when the future of Pemberley was at stake, its ancestors would be drawn home to prevent it from meeting a disastrous end. This mythical explanation of how the Darcys had managed to stay successful throughout the years was considered silly for some of the members of the family who had never experienced such a thing, but still, the story was told and retold if only to amuse the youngest Darcys in the nursery. It is not surprising that with each retelling, the tales would grow more fantastical, as tales tend to do. One Darcy had even ventured to write an epic poem or two which were now buried among many other books and notes in the library.

However, some generations were more sceptical than others. Mr. George Darcy, for example, was a man that embodied the ideas of the period in which he was born. Mr. Darcy was a clear result of the Age of Enlightenment. He was a man of science—fearful of God, of course—who had no time for such silliness as spectres, spirits, phantoms, or haunted houses. Pemberley did not have a guardian angel, of that he was sure. He would have stopped such nonsense completely if not for the fact that his dearest love, his wife, Lady Anne Darcy, loved the magic and hopefulness of these tales. She believed them to be innocent and harmless, and just perhaps, she would hint with a smile, there was some truth to it. What is the object of fantasies? he had asked her many times, only to receive a mischievous smile and the same answer—They feed our soul, our imagination.

His son and heir, little Fitzwilliam Darcy, loved the tales and received them always with the same undisguised enthusiasm. Unfortunately, his daughter, Georgiana, had never been able to hear them from her mother's mouth, for Her Ladyship had perished days after her daughter was born. However, her son took delight, in the following years, in telling little Georgie each one of them. Mr. Darcy did not try to dissuade him. He suspected it brought both his children some comfort; it was a way to feel connected to their mother by the stories she loved so much. So he let his son, the clear result of Romanticism, tell the Darcy tales of spirits and guardian angels.

Since Mr. George Darcy had never doubted the existence of God or Heaven, he was not surprised, though he was still delighted, when he was reunited with the love of his life ten years after her death. He had known he would join her soon, for his illness had caused a rapid deterioration of his health those last few weeks. He had had just enough time to make preparations, polish his will, and say goodbye to his children. He felt grateful, for he had had more time than many people did. He still remembered the moment he was taken—lying in bed, in the master bedchamber, holding his son's hand, and holding his little girl against him as she cried, curled up by his side.

"Do not cry, Georgie," he had told her. "It shall be all right."

She looked up at him with teary blue eyes—the same as her mother's—and tried to smile at him. His brave little girl. She was indeed so little. Barely ten years old. He looked at Fitzwilliam who looked extremely tired already, and Mr. Darcy knew this was only the beginning. Once he died, Fitzwilliam would be the master of Pemberley and although he had been trained and taught his entire life to fulfil his rightful role and step into his father's shoes, the elder man knew it was always a difficult adjustment. No matter how prepared he was, the reality of being the only one responsible for so many lives would be overwhelming. If one adds grief and a ten-year-old to this, he knew his poor son had some difficult times ahead of him. He and Richard would share Georgiana's guardianship, but Pemberley and its people would be completely his responsibility. Until he finds his own Anne, he thought, and that brought to mind an important issue he wished to discuss.

"Fitzwilliam," he said with difficulty.

"Yes, Father?"

"You shall be the master of Pemberley, soon."

"No," his son said, shaking his head. "You will get better, I am sure."

"I shall not," he said, and when he heard Georgie's sob, he added: "but you two shall be well, I know. Your brother and cousin shall take good care of you, my dear. And I shall always love you."

"Shall you be with me?" Georgie asked. "As our ancestors come to us when Pemberley needs them? Will you be with me if I need you? Like Mama said?"

In any other circumstance, he would have said that Pemberley was not haunted by spirits, but he could not say that to his little daughter now.

"I shall always be with you. For as long as you love me, I shall be in your heart, just as you shall be in mine long after I am gone."

"Forever," she decided.

"Forever," he agreed with her and turned back to his son. "Fitzwilliam, you must know that I want you to be the master. I want you to follow your instincts and trust your own judgment. No one else's. You shall make mistakes along the way, I am sure, but let them be your own."

"What do you mean?"

"Your aunt Catherine, and maybe even your uncle Matlock shall try to sway you. But you are the master of Pemberley. I beg you to remember that."

Feeling faint, he removed the signet ring from his pinky finger. It was the ring that had been passed from one master to the next; the ring that carried the d'Arcy family crest, that symbolised their legacy. He reached out for his son's hand, and when Fitzwilliam offered it, he placed his ring on his son's pinky finger.

"Lady Catherine will definitely try to influence you and to convince you to marry Anne. Do not do anything you do not wish to do. Remember what your mother and I taught you. You might feel confused and lost, but I know you shall do well. You are a Darcy. 'Tis in your blood."

Mr. Darcy could see that Fitzwilliam was fighting back tears. He looked so young and lost already—he was only two and twenty after all. He had no doubt that his son would be a good master, but he wished he had more time to reassure him. He felt he was ready to join Anne, but he knew he would stay if he could, for their sakes, not his. But there was nothing to be done. He kissed his children and left Pemberley, never to return.

Or so he thought.

I do not own any Pride and Prejudice properties, nor do I make any money from the writing of this story.

Characters and situations, created by Jane Austen, are taken from Pride and Prejudice and from the Pride and Prejudice (1995) adaptation created by Simon Langton and distributed by BBC.

This story is released under the GPL/CC BY: verbatim copying and distribution of this entire work are permitted worldwide, without royalty, in any medium, provided attribution is preserved.